The republic of Tatarstan : The Volga-Tatar's road to the national self-determination
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The liberalizing policies of glasnost' (opennes) and perestroyka (restructuring) during Michail Gorbachv's leadership in the USSR enabled the various republics to express their national views. By the end of 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, all republics of the former USSR without any struggle declared their sovereignty and independence. Tatarstan was one of the first autonomous republics to adopt a Declaration of Sovereignty. It did so on 30 August 1990, less than three months after the Russian Federation had declared sovereignty. What distinquished Tatarstan's declaration from those of the other autonomous republics of the Russian F:ederation was the fact that it proclaimed independence on behalf of the whole people of Tatarstan, and it made no mention of the republic's being part of the Russian Federation. Tatarstan began its new stage with the adoption of the Declaration of State Sovereignty and a new Constitution in 1992, which declared Tatarstan a sovereign State, a subject of International Law united with the Russian Federation on the basis of equal treaty. Even after the Volga Tatars lost their sovereignty in 1552, as a result of the Russian conquest, the Volga Tatars continued their struggle for independence, and never lost the idea of nationhood. The Tatar national intelligentsia was the first in the republic to begin the movement for sovereignty. In Februaryl994, Tatarstan and Russia signed a treaty defining their political and economic relations. The primary objective of this study is to examine the Volga Tatars' road to national self-determination and the process of negotiations between the Republic of Tatarstan and the Russian Federation.